The Georgia Straight - - Front Page - > BY GUY MACPHERSON

Sam Khullar is four comics in one. But un­less you also hap­pen to be quadrilin­gual in English, French, Pun­jabi, and Hindi, you won’t be able to ap­pre­ci­ate all of his stage per­sonas. That’s okay, though, be­cause he’s al­ways Sugar Sammy, no mat­ter what lan­guage he’s en­ter­tain­ing in.

When he makes his long-awaited re­turn to the Lower Main­land, as host of the an­nual Just For Laughs Cana­dian Com­edy Tour, we’ll be en­ter­tained by Sugar Sammy 1.0. The original. Sammy started out per­form­ing in English in his home­town of Mon­treal, and English re­mains his pain et beurre, al­though the last four years have seen the French side of his ca­reer re­ally take off.

“I just kind of tried it out,” he says on the phone from his Mon­treal home be­fore fly­ing off to Paris for a gig. “I did this one gala set at Juste Pour Rire and the whole prov­ince just got be­hind it, and then all of a sud­den I was tour­ing for four years, do­ing 1,400 seats a night four to six nights a week. It just went crazy.

“I couldn’t walk away from that mo­men­tum,” he adds. “I was like, ‘I’m do­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent and spe­cial and it feels like the fans are re­ally get­ting be­hind it, so let me see this through and see how far I can take it.’ And here we are in 2017, and we’ve been away from each other for seven years.”

Per­form­ing all over the world, as he does, he’s learned to tai­lor his show to the coun­try, be­com­ing the Mar­garet Mead of standup com­edy.

“You have to ap­proach ev­ery au­di­ence in an an­thro­po­log­i­cal way and say, ‘Okay, who are they? And how can I build a bridge be­tween my­self and them? And what can I learn from them and how do I adapt to them on­stage?’ You have to have that ap­proach ev­ery time.”

In Novem­ber, he’s head­ing back to France to take up res­i­dency for two months in a 600-seat theatre, do­ing shows three nights a week.

What­ever the lan­guage he’s speak­ing, Khullar doesn’t lose his cheek. “I like to ad­dress the ele­phant in the room and bring on is­sues that are ta­boo some­times,” he says. “It’s still Sugar Sammy. It’s still standup. I didn’t want to com­pro­mise on who I was and how I ap­proached my standup. The only thing I wanted to do was adapt the ma­te­rial cul­tur­ally—but not the style.”

Sugar Sammy hosts the Just For Laughs Cana­dian Com­edy Tour at the Bell Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre in Sur­rey on Fri­day (Oc­to­ber 13) and at the Chan Cen­tre for the Per­form­ing Arts on Saturday (Oc­to­ber 14).

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